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Tourist price rises curbed

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
The government issued a prakas to ensure local tourists, like this family, would not be fleeced during festive periods. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Ministry of Tourism on Thursday issued a prakas or order to curb price rises during big festivities in a bid to promote local tourism.  
The prakas, signed by Tourism Minister Thong Khon and released on Thursday said the ministry has told tourism operators to manage and list their services based on regulations, free market principles and equity.
The prakas say tourism businesses must prepare price lists of tourism products and display them in Khmer, English and a third language.
All notices should display pictures or description of products in front of the business, and all products and services must show clear prices for tourists.
“Tourism operators who do not comply with the prakas will be punished,” the order said.
Tith Chantha, secretary of state at the Tourism Ministry, said the ministry will not block price rises during big festivities, but the ministry asked all tourism business, operators and venders at tourism sites not to increase prices during big festivities.
He said tourists were unhappy when prices rose dramatically during festivities. The government asked tour-business operators not to double or triple prices because it affected the tourism sector.
“Our officials at each tourism site will check the prices but we won’t arrest business operators. However, if some places do not follow the order, we will take action,” Mr. Chantha said.
He said businesses can increase prices but not by 100 or 200 percent.
Taing Sochet Krisna, director of the Preah Sihanouk provincial tourism department, said they had experience with some businesses that teamed up to prevent doubling of prices during big festivities.
“We always tell them at every big festival that unacceptable prices will put off tourists.
“They can go up about 30 percent, but some business go to 70 percent or triple,” Mr. Sochet Krisna said.
“In the past, we asked them to increase prices only by 30 percent, but the implementation was not effective, therefore, the ministry issued the prakas to handle the issue.
“They have to stick to a fixed price to show tourists, so that they can decide whether to buy or not,” he added.
“On April 6, we will introduce this to all businesses. We will check directly all restaurants, hotels, venders, and guesthouses to see whether they implement the orders or not.”
Mr. Sochet Krisna warned: “If they do not follow the prakas, we will punish or suspend their business if there are problems.”
Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the Cambodia National Tourism Alliance, welcomed the move, saying all tourism businesses should stick to the virtues of improving the quality of goods and services and build confidence of local tourists.  
He said if there is a price tag, it is easy for tourists to make decisions so that people will enjoy traveling in the country.
“It is a good measure. The effectiveness of the prakas is up to the authorities involved,” Mr. Vandy said.

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